Sales Enablement Does Not Go Far Enough – GTM Teams Need Account-Based Enablement

Sales enablement has evolved so it’s no longer a cost center with limited impact on sales cycle time, deal sizes and revenue growth. They’re enabling sales to improve sales readiness and to have better interactions with future customers. While we’ve taken great strides and have evolved a lot, we find that sales enablement still does not go far enough…

  • GTM teams are challenged with stage progression. For example, an FP&A technology firm in Canada saw a 5% win rate from stage 0 to close. A conversation automation platform that has $500K deal sizes are building a pipeline using Demandbase but then accounts are going dark when sales engage.

 

  •  An AI tech firm is nowhere close to a signed deal with Mastercard and Walmart after 14 months of conversation. Because the CMO is not using ABM to accelerate accounts to revenue. The CMO blamed it on the fact that they need closers, even though marketing can influence both selling conversations and the internal conversations that sales are not privy to.

 

  • 78% of sellers that Challenger surveyed feel their toughest customer objections are status quo objections. They struggle with customer resistance to change their current approach to solving a problem. Sales is unable to penetrate the 60% of the market that is stuck in the status quo.

Corporate Visions recently mentioned, “When your revenue is on the line, sales and GTM teams can’t depend on a calendared, just-in-case training plan.”

You need to:

  • Provide relevant messages, content, stories, insights and skills to enable sellers in the flow of work for specific accounts—when they need it.
  • Help GTM teams to respond with speed and precision, no matter what obstacles or opportunities come their way.
  • Build situational fluency by providing contextual messages, relevant conversation skills, and content for the selling conversation and internal conversations that need to happen.

Here’s the Account-Based Enablement That We Need to Provide Sales and Revenue Teams:

 

  1. Account Profiles for Your Tier 1 Must Wins Sales teams lack account-based insights, so teams fall back on “persona” messaging, generalized pain points, and product messaging. They continue to tell “everyone’s story” even though a key Challenger element is to increase your relevance across all levels. Account profiles and plans are not being completed before any interactions happen. There is no real understanding of the company’s vision, what the strategic priorities are, and where the business wants to go. There is no real understanding of the needs and wants of the human buyers behind the personas they are targeting.

As Doug Landis mentioned in a recent Forbes article: “When selling to larger companies, you must come to every social, email and live conversation with a point of view about their business…You have to know what they are focused on as those strategic initiatives for the business will trickle down to every department across the organization.” You need to show the role you can play in their strategic initiatives and the impact you will have otherwise, and you will just be another item on their list of things to do eventually. When GTM teams have accounts profiles that are filled with insights, they will understand the role they can play, what the unconsidered gaps may be and the impacts on the business, strategic priorities, operations, finance, employees, and customers. It will help them see the reframes that may be needed and the emotional stories that will need to be told.

Listen to the podcast below where Eric Gruber (Personal ABM CEO) discussed with Rick Catino Jr. the need for account profiling and account planning.

Click here to learn more about our account intelligence programs

  1. Greater Relevance Across All Channels –Eighty-six percent (86%) of communications by sales, marketing, and account teams are still off-target and irrelevant. Sales and marketing teams are not speaking to and with the human buyers within target accounts that they want to win, protect and expand. They’re not going directly to key decision-makers and influencers with insights that are specific to their gapstheir impacts, and content that speaks to them specifically. They’re not focusing on each and every single interaction and touch point that GTM teams have with the human buyers and how they are relevant at the industry, company, rank, division, operational, financial, personal, and customer levels..

We need to give sales and revenue teams profile makeovers and a foundation to make connections with key decisions and influencers. As Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson mention in their book, “The Challenger Sale,” in most cases, buyer unresponsiveness is not because you failed to make a logical argument. It’s because you failed to make an emotional connection. It’s not that buyers didn’t believe your story. It’s because they didn’t see it as “their” story.

  1. Content that meets specific buyer expectations – In today’s digital environment, where sales and marketing is pushing out more messaging and content, Gartner found that additional customer research and learning does not lead to greater clarity but rather deeper uncertainty. More often than not, today’s customers are left with no clear means for evaluating trade-offs or moving forward with sufficient certainty to justify an expensive, potentially disruptive purchase. In fact, Gartner’s research shows that customers struggle to make sense of all the low and high-quality information that is pushed out, they are significantly more likely to settle for a course of action that is smaller or less disruptive than originally planned.

Customers today value suppliers that provide them with the right information through the right channels to make the purchase process easier. By combining empathy with deep industry and customer knowledge, suppliers can develop and deploy information that is specifically designed to help buyers buy. Sales can build trust, dramatically increase confidence and reduce skepticism while prospecting and nurturing by helping customers evaluate information so they are able to prioritize various sources, quantify trade-offs and reconcile conflicting information. The sales teams that are winning now are the ones that are simplifying customers’ learning by helping them evaluate and prioritize relevant information, all while helping customers arrive at their own understanding.

  1. Content for Specific Selling Conversations and the Internal Conversations That Sales Is Not Privy To – In most cases, content is designed to support campaigns vs. the “selling conversations” and “interactions” sales need to close accounts. Sales teams are left to their own devices to:
  • Reframe prospects’ thoughts and ideas.
  • Demonstrate relevance and make an emotional connection.
  • Build the business case.
  • Teach for differentiation – There is a difference between claiming your uniqueness and teaching, where prospects come to their own conclusions on how you are different.
  • Move the prospects through the funnel to the close.

Sales and revenue teams often do not have the content they need to penetrate target accounts, VPs across divisions/business units and the C-suite. The teams do not have the content they need to influence the internal conversations that sales teams are not privy to. They are not able to show gaps and impacts across the organization. It’s the internal conversations that the teams are losing.

  1. Account-Specific Buyer Messaging Richa Pande (Global Head of ABM and Content Strategy for HP) says that sales, marketing and revenue teams need greater customer obsession. The messaging should be customer-led. This means value props should be designed for specific customer needs, not what’s available in a solution stable to sell. Value props should be custom designed to the unique opportunity in each account. And, messaging should speak to and with the human buyers, as each interaction should be treated as a mini sales and marketing conversation.

It’s the personal connection with the human buyers that shift hearts, minds, and wallets with the 60% of the market that’s stuck in status quo. As Joanne Black from No More Cold Calling says, “Customers don’t buy your technology, your service, or your products in a B2B environment. They buy because of the impact your team can have on their business. People do business with people. They do not do business with technology.” In most cases, you cannot build that connection you need with the status quo C-suite and become a priority with the templated messaging that sales teams run through Outreach, SalesLoft, or other sales technology where you blast thousands of product-focused emails to buyers, in the hopes that a “do more” strategy will solve the problem. This does not work with the 60% of the market that sees solutions like yours as “nice to have” vs. must-have.

While we need to fix overall sales challenges with sales enablement, it’s time that companies go one step further. It’s time that we focus on targeted accounts that went silent, are slowly progressing in the buyer’s journey or are stuck. It’s time we focus on existing accounts where teams are unable to penetrate business units. And, it’s time we change the interactions we’re having with these accounts and the experiences GTM revenue teams are delivering.

  1. Account-Based Conversation Support – In many cases, teams are providing the wrong training. Growth problem? Our reps must not understand the product well enough. Trouble scheduling meetings with the decision-maker? Our reps must not be explaining the value of our solution well enough. Losing on price? Our reps must not be showing why our product is better than the competition. All too often, we throw product training at the problem and wonder why we don’t see results. All too often, we see executives complaining on LinkedIn about the sheer volume of product-centric or supplier-centric outreach hitting their inboxes. No matter how much product training we provide – talking about our product rarely compels a customer to change when they don’t believe they need to.

What if we helped sales and revenue teams engage in a two-way conversation that helped future customers understand the gaps and the costs/risks of their current approach? What if we helped teams stop responding to pre-defined needs and actually create a need and a specific buying vision?

By providing account-based enablement, our clients are driving stage progression. They are seeing faster sales cycle time and higher deal sizes.

Click here to learn more about our account-based enablement services and sign up for a free ABM strategy session to discuss your business goals, revenue challenges, ABM readiness, next steps and our personal account-based approach.

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